Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What is Bipolar Depression?

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the average onset of bipolar disorder is 25 years old; however, it can appear at any age. Additionally, every year almost three percent of the population in the United States in diagnosed with bipolar disorder, of which almost 83% is classified as severe. 

When diagnosing bipolar disorder, it is important to not be misdiagnosed with schizophrenia, as is sometimes the case with individuals who have psychotic symptoms. To be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, an individual may appear to have distinct manic or depressed states or experiencing mixed episodes simultaneously or in rapid sequence. Other symptoms include hallucinations or delusions and the psychotic symptoms mirror the individual’s mood. The individual may also feel depressed and hopeless or helpless and unable to perform normal, everyday tasks.

Stuart MacFarlane, a psychotherapist notes there are several factors which contribute to bipolar disorder. These factors include:

  • Genetics
  • Stress
  • Brain structure

Once an individual is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, MacFarlane states the bipolar disorder will be categorized in one of four ways:

  • Bipolar I Disorder
  • Bipolar II Disorder
  • Cyclothymic Disorder or Cyclothymia
  • Bipolar Disorder "other specified" and "unspecified" 

After diagnosis, an individual can be treated in one or more ways. Treatment could include medication, psychotherapy with a therapist such as Stuart MacFarlane, electroconvulsive therapy, self-management strategies and education, or through meditation, faith and prayer. Having a way of coping with bipolar disorder will be beneficial as many times, individuals will also experience anxiety disorders, ADHD, PTSD, and substance abuse issues.  

MacFarlane also notes that if at any time you start to experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should seek a professional’s help.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Facts About Anxiety That You May Not Know

While it's normal and functional to feel anxious in challenging situations, such as a first date or job interview, anxiety poses a problem when the endless baseless worrying and obsessive thoughts take over your life. If you suffer from anxiety, or know someone who does, then you know how overwhelming and burdensome the condition can be. Whether or not you're familiar with anxiety, here are some interesting facts about the mental illness that you may not know.

Anxiety is among the most common mental illnesses in the UK

If you suffer from anxiety, know that you are not alone. In fact, anxiety disorders are one of the most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses in the UK.  A survey covering Great Britain found 1 in 6 adults had experienced some form of "neurotic health problem" in the previous week, with the most common being anxiety and depressive disorders. Research has also found more than 1 in 10 people are likely to suffer from a disabling anxiety disorder at some stage in their life, and about 13% of the adult population will develop a phobia at some time point (Source). 

More women have anxiety than men

While anxiety affects both men and women, most anxiety is more common in women. In England, women are nearly twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders (Source). According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, women in the U.S. are twice as likely as men to have generalized anxiety disorder (GED), panic disorder, and specific phobias.

It's not all mental

Anxiety doesn't just mess with your thoughts; it presents a number of physical symptoms too. Those who suffer from anxiety may experience headaches, fatigue, insomnia, tremors, muscle tension, dizziness or upset stomach. Often times, anxiety patients mistake their physical anxiety symptoms for a medical illness.  

Many anxiety sufferers don't seek treatment

While anxiety disorders can be treated with medication and/or psychotherapy, many sufferers don't seek treatment. It's estimated that only one-third receive treatment for their anxiety.

Anxiety can be caused by life events and genetics

Some patients are surprised to find out they have anxiety when they haven't suffered a traumatic or stressful life event. According to Stuart MacFarlane, a leading psychotherapist, anxiety disorders are can arise from a variety of risk factors, including brain chemistry, genetics, and trauma. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Insomnia and Workplace Productivity

Many people suffer from insomnia, a sleep disorder involving difficulty falling or staying asleep. People with insomnia often wake up too early in the morning and/or feel tired upon waking. Getting a good night's sleep is crucial to your health; lack of sleep can hinder your mood, ability to concentrate, and memory, as well as increase your risk for disease. 

According to a nationwide survey, approximately 1 in 4 workers in the United States has insomnia. With decreased concentration and focus and increased sluggishness and fatigue, insomnia costs U.S. employers a staggering $63 billion in lost productivity annually.  While most insomniacs won't skip work due to poor sleep, the study found insomnia is responsible for 252 million lost days of productivity every year. This means every sleep-deprived worker sees eight days of lost productivity. 

Some other key findings of the survey include:
  • 23% of workers are sleep deprived because of insomnia
  • Only 14% of seniors have insomnia
  • 27% of women have insomnia, compared to 20% of men
  • Employers lose $2,300 each year for every worker with insomnia

The situation in the UK may be even worse. One study (http://www.mentalhealthy.co.uk/news/835-insomnia-leading-cause-of-lost-productivity.html), found that: insomnia is costing the average worker 11.3 days, or approximately £1,400 in lost productivity every year.  This equates to billions for the nation as a whole.

It's clear that sleep-deprivation is a big problem among workers. Stuart MacFarlane, a psychotherapist and Jungian analyst, suggests workers try psychotherapy to overcome their sleep troubles. While there are many forms of psychotherapy, it generally involves talking to a therapist to gain a better understanding of yourself to change and overcome your problems. With psychotherapy, insomniacs can discover the cause of their sleep problems, whether it be a pre-existing health condition or behavioral factors, and make the necessary lifestyle changes to overcome insomnia.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Mental Health 101: Signs Of Depression To Recognize

Everyone experiences a wide range of emotions on a daily basis and we all can feel sad or 'blue' from time to time. However, if the feelings of despair and emptiness have taken over your life and won't go away on their own, you might have depression. Depression can manifest itself a number of ways and it tends to make every day functions more difficult and less enjoyable. With that said, no matter how sad or hopeless you may feel, you can conquer depression to feel better. Let's go over the signs, symptoms, causes and treatment options so you can have a better understanding of it.

What Is Depression?
According to Stuart MacFarlane, an experienced psychotherapist, depression is an illness that impacts the brain, which can negatively affect the way an individual feels, thinks and behaves. It typically causes severe feelings of sadness and a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable. Depression can lead to a variety of physical and emotional problems that can lower the person's ability to function at work, at home and in social environments.

What Are The Signs & Symptom?
Depression can vary from person to person but there are a few common and recognizable signs. Some signs and symptoms include:
  • Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and sadness.
  • No longer interested in activities that were once enjoyable – hobbies, social activities, games, etc.
  • Trouble concentrating, focusing or making decisions
  • Body aches
  • Change in sleep habits – experiencing insomnia or oversleeping
  • Change in eating habits – significant weight gain or weight loss
  • Feeling fatigued, sluggish or having no energy
  • Erratic escapist behaviors like alcohol/drug abuse, gambling, shopping sprees, diving dangerously, etc.
  • Feeling angry, irritable, short-tempered

What Are Treatment Options?
When someone is depressed, it's important that they seek professional help because it's a mental illness that's extremely hard to treat alone. A doctor or psychologist may use a combination of treatments that may include:
  • Anti-depressant medication
  • Psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Exercise routine
  • And other treatment options 

The majority of depressed individuals who seek treatment often see vast improvements, which is why it's extremely important to get help. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Getting To Know The Psychotherapist Stuart MacFarlane

Stuart MacFarlane is a psychotherapist based in London, England and has over 30 years of experience in the field of psychology. His mental health services includes the treatment of depression, anxiety, grief counseling, relationship counseling, bipolar disorder, alcohol and drug addiction and others. With that said, he has help hundreds, if not thousands, of patients overcome their psychological dilemmas through psychotherapy and Jungian analysis..

The Beginning
MacFarlane is originally from Sydney, Australia and left in the early 1970s to head off to school at Yoga-Vedanta Forest University in Rishikesh, India where he studied philosophy and Advaita Vedanta. After he completed his studies, MacFarlane returned to Australia where he was inspired to train as a bereavement counselor and psychotherapist. In 1984, his private practice opened and he began accepting patients through referrals. During this time, MacFarlane started to professionally train with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D, and quickly became the head of her organization in Australia.

While working with Kubler-Ross, MacFarlane met a renowned Jungian Analyst by the name of Gregg M. Furth who significantly impacted his career. MacFarlane undertook work with Furth by organizing workshops throughout New Zealand and Australia. This ultimately lead MacFarlane to London where he began studying Jungian Analytical Psychology at the Guild of Analytical Psychology (GAP).

Jungian analysis was a concept researched by Carl Jung that has a theory based on balance through harmonizing the unconscious mind and the conscious mind. It is a branch of psychology that focuses on open dialog between the psychotherapist and the patient, with particular emphasis on dream analysis. At any rate, as soon as MacFarlane graduated from GAP, he opened another private practice in London. While he spent time treating patients, he also held training sessions for psychotherapy students and would facilitate many workshops. Currently, the psychotherapist Stuart MacFarlane continues to study new developments in psychology and still resides in London.